Over half of British women don’t regularly check their breasts for signs of cancer – and worryingly, almost one in ten don’t check them at all because they don’t know-how, according to research by Pall Mall Medical.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer to affect British women with a staggering 55,000 new cases diagnosed every year.
Thankfully, breast cancer is actually one of the least deadly forms of the disease, with 85% of women surviving for five years or more after their diagnosis. These promising survival rates are due to the vast amount of treatment options available but many of which are only a viable option if the cancer is detected early.
Early signs of breast cancer can often be detected by an individual with a simple at-home monthly self-examination, but research suggests that many women simply forget or feel underconfident when it comes to checking their breasts correctly.
As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, Pall Mall Medical GP, Dr Priyanka Vaidya, is shedding light on how women across the UK can protect their health with a simple, yet potentially life-saving, breast self-exam with an easy to follow video guide.
“Breast cancer is one of the most manageable cancers with promising treatment options available if detected early by a quick, yet thorough, at home self-breast-exam. Forty per cent of breast cancers are diagnosed by women who have felt a lump when performing the self-exam, stressing the importance of this simple at-home check.”
Woman of all ages are recommended to examine their breasts at least once a month, preferably after their period and for women who do not experience periods, I recommend choosing a specific day in the month and to repeat each month on the same date. Should your monthly self-exam cause any reason for concern, it’s always best to seek professional help so that your GP can determine what the best next steps are for you. If you’re struggling to get an appointment with your regular surgery, Pall Mall Medical offer same and next day appointments with GPs, such as myself, and are currently offering £120 off a mammogram throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”
(Dr Priyanka Vaidya)
Dr Priyanka Vaidya has given a few signs of abnormalities in the breasts to look out for:
- A change in size
- A change in shape
- A change in texture, particularly dimpling or puckering
- Redness or inflammation
- A lump or swelling, this maybe be felt in the armpit or upper chest
- Nipple rashes or crust
- Nipple discharge
Should you notice any of the above symptoms following your breast check, you should book in with your GP urgently who will then refer you to a specialist for a biopsy or mammogram to determine if the issue detected is cancerous.
For more information and a written step by step guide on how to perform the self-exam, please click here.